Here is a message from the Canadian Department of IATSE International:
To our Canadian Members:
The COVID-19 pandemic has put many industries in a difficult position, but the entertainment industry has been hit particularly hard. We have been working around the clock with all levels of government, our fellow unions and guilds, our IATSE local unions, and our employers, to ensure that our members and our industry have every support that we are able to provide.
We are having weekly meetings with the leaders of all Canadian film locals and all Canadian stage locals so that we can hear issues arising in specific areas and any concerns that members have raised at the local level. We have also established regular meetings with officials from the Ministry of Canadian Heritage so that the federal government is fully up-to-speed on the situation facing entertainment industry workers.
While the pandemic faced by our American sisters, brothers, and kin is the same, the support systems and governments in our two countries are different. To address this, the International’s Canadian Department has created a distinct website so that Canadian members can find resources and information in one place.
On it, you will find information about financial support through the AFC, benefit information on our national health and retirement plans, information on available government support benefits, links to the federal and provincial government announcement pages, what the IATSE has been doing, and what you, as a member and entertainment industry worker, can do.
Given the understandable need for members to get information we are launching the site now, but please understand that it is a work in progress. This is an unprecedented situation, and one that is changing daily. The Canadian Department will continue to complete and update the site to ensure it remains current.
Our strength as a union is that we all stand together and support one another. These are challenging times but we will get through them together, because that’s what we do.
The IATSE is lobbying the government on behalf of entertainment workers who are losing work due to COVID-19. Although there are sectors that we don’t currently represent, as the union behind entertainment, we believe all workers have the right to be represented and so we are fighting for everyone, regardless of membership status.
In order to show the government the catastrophic effect this is having on our industry, we are compiling data to show the losses to entertainment workers.